have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly
manage classes effectively, using approaches which are appropriate to pupils’ needs in order to involve and motivate them
maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.
In addition to the consistent use of the school’s system for rewards and sanctions, I have started to make more frequent use of a wider range of communication methods over the 10 week placement. I have found many non-verbal strategies to be equally as effective, and in some cases more appropriate, than simple verbal comments for dealing with minor behaviour issues and distractions where pupils are fond to be “off-task”.
Tone of voice
In feedback from a lesson observation, my observer gave me a target of varying the tone of my voice as a behaviour management technique. Simply speaking in a lower pitch with a stern tone was found to be very effective in attracting attention and displaying my disapproval at behaviour witnessed.
– eyebrows raised
– eyes widened
– head tilted
I have found this to be extremely useful for minor deviations from the expected standard, particularly in situations where a pupil is fully aware that their behaviour is not acceptable but I do not want to justify it with a verbal comment. If I am talking, I have found that pausing mid-sentence immediately attracts the pupils’ attention and if the child causing the disturbance continues the unwanted behaviour, often the rest of the class will make it known to them that I am watching and waiting. The head tilt, eyes widened, eyebrows raised can communicate either shock, disappointment or disapproval at the behaviour being displayed.
I am mindful however, of the fact that in some cultures it is considered disrespectful for children to make eye contact with adults. This is something to bear in mind for future reference, particularly with a culturally diverse class.
Silence- “I’ll wait for you”
Requires a high level of authority established within the classroom. Without the authority and mutual respect, the class may simply ignore the signs and continue to talk for as long as they get away with it.
I believe however that for many of these behaviour management methods to be effective, established positive relationships and mutual respect between the pupils and the teacher are essential. This is of course relevant to all forms of behaviour management however I have found that non-verbal methods require an even higher level of authority (especially the use of silence) to be respected since they do not have the instant impact of verbal comments. Without the established level of respect, non-verbal cues are likely to go unnoticed or be dismissed by pupils. Part way through my placement, when I was confident that I had established the appropriate authority, I was able to begin testing out some of these strategies mostly for the times when pupils drifted off-task.